Local departments work to recruit in face of nationwide police shortage

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Police departments across America are working to develop new strategies to combat a nationwide officer shortage, and it’s no different for local law enforcement, who attended ECU’s Law Enforcement Career Fair to recruit.

For some students, being a police officer is their dream.

“Ever since I was a little kid I would see those sirens, or I would see those dogs walking around with police officers and say, ‘I want to do that someday,” said ECU senior Katie Brinley. “That’s what I want to be.”

ECU senior Seth Roberts feels the same way.

“You get asked when you’re little, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?” said Roberts. “You’re like, ‘I want to be this, I want to be that, I want go to work every day and love what I do.”

These are the kinds of people local police departments are trying to recruit, but Greenville Police Department recruiting officer Christopher Burack.

“The trend right now is that it’s not cool to be the police,” Burack said.

Greenville police has 13 openings and Burack said bringing in the best and the brightest is an uphill battle.

“it’s a hard sell and plus, we’re under a big microscope, especially in these past recent years, and a lot of people just don’t like that,” said Burack.

That’s forcing departments to change their strategy.

“When I talk to recruits, I say hey this is what I’m feeling, this is what we’re seeing, this is the pressure we’re getting,” Burack said.

Some potential recruits say that doesn’t scare them away but instead drives them to serve.

“Maybe it does get the mentally weak people out,” said Roberts. “Maybe it does get the stronger people in. Maybe that’s good.”

Others see it as an opportunity to be part of the solution.

“There’s always going to be things that need to be reformed in this world and so that’s something we need to work on now, and so I can be part of that,” said Brinley.

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